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Camping in the New Forest at Hollands Wood Campsite


I love exploring new places by bike. I heard that cycling in the New Forest in a very popular activity, as it is safe and very scenic. So we decided to give it a go during a bank holiday weekend. We enjoy being close to nature, and we also wanted to keep costs down. We discovered Hollands Wood Campsite in Brockenhurst and quickly realised that it is one of the best options for camping in the New Forest.

Camping in the New Forest

Hollands Wood Campsite

We stayed at Hollands Wood Campsite twice, both during a bank holiday weekend. The staff was always very kind and helpful. Check-in is at 12, which is great, as it gave us a whole afternoon to explore on the day of our arrival. We were very satisfied with everything and we will definitely be back again.

The facilities are always clean and the site is huge. There aren’t allocated pitches, which is how I prefer things. This way we could decide where to pitch up our tent. Thanks to the site being so big, everyone has plenty of privacy from other people’s tents. Prices are also very reasonable, especially since they have a special rate, for people without cars.

Car camping and campervans are also allowed and a lot of people bring their bikes as well. However, the campsite can help you rent bikes. We did this one year, and they arranged the transfer of bikes to the site for us.

One of my favourite things about Hollands Wood campsite is its location. It is in a gorgeous setting in a secluded forest, but it is easily accessible by train from London. There is a huge field behind the campsite, where horses like to roam free. It is not uncommon for them to wander through the campsite, which is always a lovely sight.

What to bring: We couldn’t carry much, as we arrived by train. So we just brought the most essentials from our camping equipment checklist. But if you arrive by car, then you could bring more, including a portable power station. They are a great way to gain access to electricity without having to pay extra at the campsite for it.

How to get there: We took a train from Waterloo to Brockenhurst, which only took 1 hour 36 minutes. We then headed to Hollands Wood campsite, which was 1 mile from the train station, so accessible by foot. However, there is also a bus that could take you there.

Things to do in Brockenhurst

Horse riding

Horse riding tours are very popular in the area. Many local stables offer different packages. Most of the time children are also welcome. You can even book horse riding lessons.

Wild swimming

The area has many hidden wild swimming spots. The locals love putting up rope swings to trees. A popular swimming spot is in Brockenhurst near the Hollands Wood Campsite. The Lymington River is very shallow here, so it is also safe for children. On hot summer days, many families set up a picnic at the river bank and enjoy a nice afternoon there.

Coordinates of this swim spot: 50.826634, -1.570832

Coordinates of this swim spot: 50.835784, -1.587419

Book afternoon tea or Sunday roast

Brockenhurst has many bike-friendly pubs and cafes. The Buttery Cafe/Tearoom has an excellent menu and lovely staff. Book an afternoon tea at a very reasonable price.

Cycling in the New Forest

New Forest cycle hire

 Cyclexperience hooked us up with two mountain bikes. They were great to explore the area. Their office is located next to Brockenhurst train station, so super convenient for anyone travelling by train. They also deliver bikes locally, so you don’t have to worry about getting to the rental location if you are too far to walk there.  They provide a repair kit, breakdown cover, helmet, lock and a map about the route that could be attached to the bike, making it easy to tell directions, while on the go. They also have an app, with routes. If you don’t want to worry about planning your getaway yourself you can also book pre-planned day trips that include a voucher for a ferry ride or for pub food and afternoon tea.

Cycling routes in the New Forest

There are several cycling routes in the area including trails to Lymington, where you can take a ferry to the Isle of Wight.

Route 1 – Brockenhurst and the Ornamental Woods

Duration: 26 km

At 1 pm we were ready to set off on our bikes. We explored the Ornamental Woods. We had lovely weather and stopped for a while next to a little stream. It was very popular with families as there was a rope swing over the water (there are loads of these in the New Forest) and 2 trees were leaning over the stream creating a bridge. It was great fun trying to get from one side to the other, however, it can be slippery. We witnessed a boy falling into the water. He seemed to enjoy this and had fun splashing around afterwards. This route is fun and easy, also suitable for families with small children.

Route 2 – From Brockenhurst to Beaulieu

Duration: 30 km

We set off early from Brockenhurst and managed to make our way to Beaulieu by noon. We called a few local pubs to see if they have any table for lunch, however being a bank holiday, we had no luck with this. We then stumbled upon Steff’s Kitchen, which was a lovely place. They have bike racks to lock the bikes and lots of seats both inside and outside. We had a really tasty Sunday roast. Coming from Hungary I don’t eat this very often, but it’s always a treat when I get to, so naturally, it was one of the highlights of my weekend.
We cycled down to Buckler’s Hard, where we had a really quick walk, as it’s not so accessible for cyclists if you are not a visitor of the Maritime Museum. (we, unfortunately, forgot to start our tracker again, so no trace of this section on our journey, but the pictures are proof we did it.
On our way back we passed Hatched Pond, where we saw some ducks.

Route 3 – From Brockenhurst to the sea

Duration: 40 km

The trail to the sea, was really scenic through the woods. We reached Lymington quite quickly but then slowed down, as there was so much to see. We passed the Lymington Sea Water Baths, which looked like a lot of fun. It had lots of inflatable playground elements and paddleboards were also available for rent. We sat at a bench on the boardwalk for a while, just watching the sailing boats and people on kayaks. It was a gorgeous day to be out on the water. We later continued our way through the Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes Nature Reserve. This area is a paradise for bird watchers. We saw terns, black-headed gulls, cormorants, redshanks and egrets. We also passed a little sailing school, which has a gorgeous setting. At the end of the path, we arrived at Keyhaven. From here we could see the Needles in the distance. We saw signs for Hurst Castle as well, but we decided not to visit it this time. We headed back to our campsite in Brockenhurst.

As you can see camping in the New Forest is a great holiday for people who enjoy being close to nature. The area is a lovely destination for cycling and walking as well. We saw a lot of nice birds, cows, horses and deer. You can take the train and enjoy a nice hike near London. It’s a super getaway from the city life, even just for a day as well as it’s not super far.

If you want a similar great cycling or hiking holiday, then check out the Viking Coastal path.

What are some of your favourite cycling destinations in the UK?

new forest

We were guest of Cyclexperience, but all opinions are my own. #sponsored



Hey, I'm Enikő! I'm currently an au pair and I want to share my experiences with you. I've travelled a lot in the past years. I'm gonna teach you how to settle in to a new country and get free accommodation anywhere in the world. Circle Enikő on Google+!


  1. Joanna
    May 10, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I actually live very close to the New Forest and I have been there to cycle quite a few times. In the North of the forest, around Stoney Cross, you will also find really tiny ponies which roam free on the fields. The New Forest is full of surprises and serene scenery.

  2. Aarti Kamath
    May 10, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    The place looks beautiful and you seem to have cycled quite a bit! I am guess you had great fun; Lovely pictures! I don’t really cycle as much but I have been thinking of doing it in my upcoming trip to Cambodia. Your post just got me all excited to cycle.. hehe 🙂

  3. Tendelle
    May 10, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Just found your blog for the first time.. Your cycling adventures look amazing! Keep it up & cheers from Amsterdam!

  4. Aysha Frost
    May 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I love the New Forest, such a beautiful part of the UK! Looks like you had a great time exploring on your bike. That roast dinner looks delicious.

  5. Salomé
    May 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    It looks amazing. It looks like you had a lot of fun. 🙂

  6. Lacey
    May 11, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Wow! This looks beautiful and sounds like such a great adventure! I love the maps you included! I would love to do something like this! I am feeling motivated after reading this!

  7. Carola
    May 11, 2017 at 4:00 am

    Oh wow! Your post reminded me again, why I desperately need to explore the South of England. Your pics look amazing, and I’m surprised that even on Bank Holiday it wasn’t crowded at all!

    Happy continued travels!

  8. Joy Generoso
    May 11, 2017 at 6:12 am

    That was cool biking adventure! Unfortunately I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. Perhaps will do trekking instead of biking. 🙂

  9. finja
    May 11, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Heheh what is that horse doing on the street? 🙂
    xx finja |

  10. Dariel
    May 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Camping, cycling and meeting animals sound like a lot of fun! Love the idea of cycling to explore a new area (or even old area).

  11. Micamyx|Senyorita
    May 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I spent my birthday in New Forest two weeks ago and had a blast! I would’ve loved to do a cycling afternoon, but i don’t really bike :/ time to learn!

  12. Audrey
    May 21, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Thank you for sharing, super useful for the day I need to get out of London! I’m always looking for weekend getaway ideas and even tho I’m not as fit as you are, I enjoy cycling! I just bought a road bike, would you still recommend the New Forest?

    • Enikő
      May 23, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Road bikes are fine on the roads, but most cycle paths that go through the forest are dirt roads, and mountain bikes are more suitable.

  13. Angela
    May 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Looks like a fun getaway from London. I like the idea that you can get to the bikes with public transportation. Definitely keeping this on the list of day trips from London! Cheers.

  14. Kavey Favelle
    July 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    The New Forest is such a beautiful part of the country, I can see why you’d really enjoy a bicycle tour around the area. It sounds like the operator does a great job on providing a route map, booking accommodation and making sure you have everything you need on the trip.

  15. Mariella Molestina
    July 5, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Such a cool experience! I did the same while in Prague and went mountain biking in the outskirts of town. It’s a neat way to have a different perspective and experience!! Now I just have to go and do it in The New Forest!

  16. Jill at Reading the Book
    July 5, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    The New Forest is really well known in the UK (as I’m sure you know) and is such a beautiful place to go. Especially for the ponies! Sounds like a great place to go cycling as well, and it’s great that the rental company kitted you out so well. Looks like you had a proper British weekend! 😉

  17. Elle Pollicott
    July 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I’m not much a cyclist and I’m way more of a city person, but it looks like you had a great time and I love your pictures!

  18. ashley
    July 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    This sounds amazing! I’m going to show my boyfriend this post because he is in love with biking. Maybe we can plan a trip together 🙂 Thanks for the inspo

  19. Lucy
    July 5, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Lovely reading your account of the New Forest. I spent a lot of time there as a child as I grew up near by. I have been to Beaulieu many times in the past. Hope you enjoyed it!

  20. Megan
    July 6, 2017 at 1:21 am

    What a wonderful way to spend some travel time?! I love the idea of the exercise and fresh air of this, and have one daughter who would just love the wild horses so much. It’s looks beautiful. <3

  21. Emily
    July 6, 2017 at 2:51 am

    What a fun adventure! I’m hoping to move to the UK soon, and this looks like a great place to cycle/hike/camp!

  22. Daniela || Ipanema travels to
    July 6, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    This is just my type of weekend! I’m not sure if I will happen to go there one day, but it looks like a lovely place.

  23. Lincode
    July 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

    This place looks amazing. Thanks for posting.

  24. Adam
    September 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    What a fun adventure! This place looks amazing, thank you for sharing!

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  27. Morocco Holidays
    December 20, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    Wow, wonderful article! Thanks for sharing such a great post with us, can’t wait to visit!

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